Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader: Series 5: Unknown Time of the Living Dead
The ruined wreck of the Bismarck floats, lost in the depths of space, its corridors empty of life. Well, nearly empty of life, the shadowed figure of Xanatov stalks the corridors, his void suit protecting him from the poisons that have ruptured from the mutilated hull. His mind finally recovering from the thousands of deaths and the horrors of the warp, he looks forlornly at the severed head that has been his only company for the last few hours before discarding it. The conversation was getting dull anyway. Shouldering a bolter he sets off on the long journey to the bridge to try and find if anything can be saved.
Elsewhere in the poisoned ship Aviner faces the memories of the fallen of the past, unable to turn his thoughts away from those who have died because of what he has done, or worse those who died because of his inaction. Sente sits quiet, the horrors of the recent daemonic possession still tearing at her , and as Aviner tries to gently coax her into moving , she pushes him away, hatred and feelings of betrayal burning in her eyes. Turning away Aviner vents his anger at the door, ripping it in twain and opening it to the toxic environ outside. As the smoke clears, Sente is gone.
Aviner pushes through the ruined hull, his pleas to the shattered remains of the machine spirits giving little information as he hunts for Sente and Xanatov. A flickering image the only clue, as he sees Sigmund heading towards the bridge – a strange alien artifact shining upon his neck. Oddly, the life scans of the ship reports nothing for the most part, but occasionally thousands of life signs weakly blip across the weak system and then disappear. Seeing no other choice he moves towards the bridge.
Crawling through the wreckage Xanatov, sees a fallen body, recognising the motionless form of Gabrial he fears the worst, but as he approaches he realises the hardy warrior has not fallen so easily. As he tends to his close friend the shadows lengthen and broken figures rise from the ground, the fallen dead of the ship are tormented once more as their corpses rise under the control of the ruinous powers. Fighting their way back into a defensible area they hold off the rising hordes but at great strain to their now limited ammunition. As they shelter in the dark, Gabrial shakes as he speaks turns to the captain, lifting his top to reveal the truth – a small shrivelled limb writhes upon his chest – the expose to the warp has taken its toll on this most loyal servant.
Moving through the labyrinthine corridors, Aviner is suddenly caught in a burst of green light Pressing himself to the walls, he peaks out seeing a strange flickering image. As he approaches figures rise from the ground around him and the dead of the ship set upon him with ravenous needs. Swamped underneath the horde of biting kicking bodies he drags himself forwards, almost born to the ground under their weight, but their flailing cannot halt his progress. Realising that they cannot harm the Tech Priest this way, they try to drag him to the ground, to set upon him with jackhammers and arc welders, to open up the metal and find the warm flesh inside. Knowing that he cannot face them all Aviner drags his body to the edge of the precipice, dragging his attackers with him. Looking over the sheer drop he steps forwards once more, taking himself and all attacking with him falling into the chasm.
Xanatov meanwhile faces the horror of his closest ally being accursed, a mutant, raising his bolter he presses it to Gabrials head, to give him the peace of the emperors mercy. But as his finger closes on the trigger he pauses. “No” he says, Gabrial has served him well, and shall serve him still. Overwhelmed by the trust shown in him Gabrial rises, prepared to defend his Seneschal to death and beyond. As they stand a burst of comms signal comes through, another ship is near, and believing the Bismarck to be a space hulk is preparing to board. Answering, Xanatov declares the ship to be still under the control of a rogue trader and orders that they desist. As the message fades out they hear the approaching crew declare that they intend to board to “assist” the survivors.
Filled with renewed purpose they get ready to move out when they hear a strange noise from above. They look up just in time to get out of the way of tumbling figures caught in the shifting gravity tides of the ship. As they recover from the shock of the falling figures bursting open around them they see Aviner surrounded by the warp possessed bodies, caught in the gravity waves above. With practised ease they unleash the emperors vengeance, annihilating the creatures.
Together at last they discuss their plans and consult with the machine spirits of the area. Some obscene power fluctuates from the bridge, where the lord captain Sigmund has disappeared, Another flickering image shows Sente, moving with deadly grace towards the Bridge, unaware of what lies there.
They set off down the ship, Gabriel and Xanatov moving through the vent shafts, Aviner runs through the ships corridors hoping to intercept Sente before she gets to the bridge. Xanatovs journey is made easier by Gabriel’s revelation of a small stash of grenades and flamer weapons stored for just such an occasion, whilst Aviner takes advantage of opening areas to the void of space, to block his pursuers.
Eventually they come to the Bridge, the doors opening to an unholy tableau of the lord captain, frozen in the air, spikes torn through his flesh as he hangs unmoving, a heretical alien artefact glowing upon his neck. Sente lying unconscious on the floor beneath him.
As Aviner moves Sente to safety Gabriel and Xanatov look at the Lord Captains whose debauchery has brought them to such horror, in a shared moment they smile as Gabriel loads a round of unprecedented viciousness into the breach of his weapon, then with a wry grin unloads it into the Lord Captain, sending his broken torn body shattering into pieces. “The dead have been avenged” Xanatov mutters.
Searching the bridge for information, they are surprised by a voice behind them, turning they see Sigmund smiling, his body patching together as the alien device glows. With a roguish smile he draws his power blade, glowing blue in the light “Oh you betray me so fast Xanatov, you cannot kill me now” turning to Aviner he taunts “Do you want to see what I showed Sente, oh the things I’m going to do to her once you are dead”.
A clatter breaks his monologue as Xanatov bounces grenades upon the viewscreen that opens to the cold of space. Moving with sudden anger Sigmund swings his power sword, cleaving off Xanatovs outstretched arm.
The next few moments are chaotic as the explosions crack the panes, sending the atmosphere rushing out, Gabriel grabs the falling Xanatov pushing him into an Airlock away from danger, leaving Aviner alone with the deranged
As the air vents, Seigmund, continues to taunt Aviner as he charges upon him. Roused to action by the threat to Sente, Aviner raises his power axe in response, targeting system locking upon the captains quick moving form. The captain flits around Aviner, skewering him with numerous cuts, but Aviner stands on, until in a single moment he swings true, sheering the captains face clean off.
Still though, the alien artefact keeps him alive. From the bulkhead Xanatov bursts out, locking a grenade to the Captains torso, then pushing away. The explosion throws the Captain back against the battered view screen. Xanatov turns to find himself facing Sente awoken, her weapon raised and pointed straight at him.”Duck” she commands.
Xanatov hits the ground and an explosive round breaks out, finally shattering the view screen and sending the Sigmund tumbling end over end into the cold depths of space, to freeze forever. The emergency shutters collapse down and leave the remaining crew on the ruined ship.
Finally the dead have been avenged.
(Note: I may have got some of the chronological order on this slightly wrong, the general gist is true however)